FLOATING hot air balloons, an enchanted fairy garden and spinning teacups may sound like the entry to a fantastical wonderland, but they're part of this year's Hunter Valley Gardens' Christmas Lights Spectacular.
The gardens have added one million more lights than last year, bringing the total to four million bulbs across an eight-acre stretch.
Marketing manager Kim Jacobs said the gardens had a "huge investment" in new displays this year, though was tight-lipped on the actual cost.
"There are more lights everywhere," she said. "The feedback we have had so far is that this is bigger and better than any year previously."
Preparing the gardens for a Christmas spectacular in no small task. Bump-in formally starts in August - first with concealed lights in trees before larger exhibits are installed - but planning is a year-round affair.
"Planning is on now for next year," Ms Jacobs said. "It is a big [event]."
The bump-in includes the setting up of a hefty string of solar-powered lights, which have been used at the garden for about five years. Flood lights in the car park also run on solar, but other displays are powered by usual electricity.
Ms Jacobs' personal favourite attraction is a row of hot air balloon lights, which appear to float from tightly-planted trees near the rose garden. The dark alley illuminates the light passage, and lights appear to be dancing in the sky above viewer's heads.
Visitors will also find rides like a giant slide and ferris wheel, venetian carousels and swing chairs on offer.
A 14-metre tall Christmas tree in the centre of the gardens is an ideal photo opportunity, along with "many illuminated areas" designed as selfie-snapping zones. Food trucks are available each evening.
The light spectacular began on November 3 and will run until January 28.
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